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German press lays into "loser" Pep Guardiola

“Last night’s images showed Pep Guardiola as what he doesn’t want to be: a loser," said one outlet after Bayern were beaten at the Calderón.

Pep Guardiola on the touchline at the Vicente Calderón.
Luis SevillanoEL PAÍS

The German press got stuck into Pep Guardiola on Thursday morning, criticizing his formation and his starting 11 against Atlético. Kicker asked on its front page: “Will it work this time in the return leg?” Guardiola’s biggest detractor was Süddeutsche Zeitung, which said in its online edition: “Bayern are smashed.”

Last night’s images showed Pep Guardiola as what he doesn’t want to be: a loser. As in the previous semi-finals, Guardiola didn’t get his tactics right. On Wednesday he lost again to a side that won because they had a better plan,” said Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The German media could not fathom why Guardiola left Thomas Müller and Franck Ribéry on the bench. “Guardiola left Müller out in a surprise move and Bayern didn’t attack until the second half. Do you still think you can fix it?” asked Bild. “The absence of Müller was particularly surprising. Without him, Ribéry and the injured Robben, Bayern lacked aggression, passion and courage,” opined Sport Bild. “Guardiola’s odd decision: Müller on the bench,” added Kicker.

The bi-weekly’s analysis continued: “Bayern still have a chance but in Munich they have to find a perfect balance between a dizzying attack and a rock solid defence, a task that Guardiola failed in against Real Madrid in 2014 and Barcelona in 2015. He was impudent and his decision to leave Müller on the bench was shown to be a mistake. Müller drives the team and gives orders; he is a spiritual guide for this team. In this type of game not only tactics are needed, but experience and mentality on the pitch.”

Kicker also questioned the decision not to start Ribéry: “The Frenchman is still not in his best form after a long injury layoff but for a game in an atmosphere like that in the Calderón, Ribéry would have been the right man: he pushes the team, he is experienced and he has authority on the ball. Costa and Coman are quick and skilful, but Müller and Ribéry know each other and love to rise to challenges like the Calderón.”

The threat of a third consecutive Champions League elimination against a Spanish side is hanging over Guardiola’s head. Without a European Cup, the Spanish coach’s time in Munich will be incomplete. Winning a fourth consecutive Bundesliga against Gladbach on Saturday will be scant consolation,” said Sky.